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Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops Humilis)

fan palmIt is the northernmost naturally occurring palm in the world, with the northernmost localities at Hyères-les-Palmiers, on the Mediterranean coast of southern France, at 43° 07' N,[5] and on the island of Capraia off the Italian coast, at 43° 04' N.
There are two varieties:[1]

  • Chamaerops humilis var. humilis. Southwest Europe. Leaves green.
  • Chamaerops humilis var. argentea André (syn. var. cerifera). Northwest Africa. Leaves glaucous.

It is a shrub-like clumping palm, with several stems growing from a single base.  The Mediterranean fan palm forms clumps than can grow up to 15' in height. The triangular, fan-shaped leaves grow to about 20-24" long by 24" wide. They are deeply divided into multiple segments that are themselves split at the tip and they are supported on 3-4' stems. Some plants form suckers more freely than others to become very shrubby plants that may reach 15' in width. Other individuals can be seen that are almost dwarf growing just 5' tall by 4' wide. These days it is popular to remove all but a few of the suckers and to prune the leaves to form a cluster of clear-trunked "mini" palms.

The stems grow slowly and often tightly together, eventually reaching 2-5 m tall with a trunk diameter of 20-25 cm. It also has numerous sharp needle-like spines produced on the leaf stems; these protect the stem growing point from browsing animals. The flowers are borne in dense, short clusters at the top of the stems; it is usually (but not invariably) dioecious with male and female flowers on separate plants. The fruit is a brown drupe 1-2 cm long.

Mediterranean Palm

Cold hardy Mediterranean Fan Palm trees are as versatile as beautiful. It is adapted to a Mediterranean climate with cool, moist winters and summer drought, and typically grows on dry hill slopes. It is one of the hardier palms, tolerating winter frosts down to about −12°C, though it does require hot summers for good growth.  With the leaves trimmed up to clear the trunk it makes a beautiful specimen plant - a natural sculpture to grace your patio or entryway.

Unpruned, Mediterranean Fan palms assume an attractive shrubby form. Use them as a screen or plant several side by side to form barriers. Planted in groupings they will accent that hard-to-garden, bare corner of your yard. Mediterranean Fan Palm trees are excellent in containers and urns.

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